An open letter to ‘Gender Critical’ Greens

For a few months, I’ve been arguing on Facebook with ‘Gender Critical’ Green Party members. It’s hard to fit my thoughts into the restricted space of a Facebook post (and I’ll probably still miss stuff out in this extended format), what follows is addressed to them, in an attempt to explain my position-

I’m a middle aged, white, cis man, from a middle class background. I’m a little bit bi, so I do have some skin in the game, but most of my opposition to your stance comes from basic empathy and having read enough history to know where this could go.

Your language and logic is full of tropes lifted from right wing talking points and the moral panics of previous generations. You’ve thrown out unexplained (likely unexplainable) references to postmodernism, critical theory and the like, as well as that boogeyman beloved of the empty headed reactionary- Cultural Marxism. All to try to justify your opposition to the terror of ‘trans ideology’- something with even less substance than all your other words.

Being trans is lived reality for millions around the world. It’s not an ideology, it’s a fact. Proportionally, the trans population is tiny, but over the last few years, prejudice against them has ramped up. They’re almost up there with immigrants now as the most popular scapegoats of Tories and Republicans.

Something that is an ideology is your beloved protected Gender Critical belief. It’s the ideology the Tories and Republicans use to justify proposed and actual laws designed to persecute trans people. It’s been the driver of at least one murder in the UK, and doubtless many more worldwide. GC ideologues have talked about how their world would be so much better if they could just get rid of trans people. They have drawn the support of neo-nazis.

You’re going to tell me that you don’t agree with those people, that you’re not like them. But you’re lying. You’ve cited Linehan to support your points. You stand with JK Rowling. You’ve demanded support for the LGB Alliance. And those are just the examples I can think of off the top of my head.

I was going to be generous, and say that the line between Gender Critical belief and rabid transphobia is so fine it’s basically invisible. But I’m not even sure there is a line. You hold a belief that makes you think less of a group of people because of how they were born. That belief makes you think it would be acceptable to place restrictions on their freedoms. You may not say the quiet part out loud- even to yourself- but you occupy ideological space with the absolute worst of our politicians.

That is why I think you don’t belong in the Green Party. We’re a progressive organisation, and you’re trying to force regressive beliefs on us.

I plan to waste less of my time on you from now on. I’ll still call you out when you deserve it and I’m feeling feisty, but I’m going to spend more time on positive actions. Be proud for yourselves for that at least- you’ve inspired me.

There’s still a version of my trans kids and allies vs the terfs novel that needs to be written. I may try to break the writer’s block on what I’ve got so far, or it could need a whole new start, but I will keep trying.

More immediately, I have signed up to do Miles for Mermaids in March. I’ve committed to put in at least 100 miles on my bike whilst raising money for a charity that supports trans kids and their families. Thanks for getting me off my arse and back to improving my health and bank balance by cycling to work. Click here to chip in and do your bit as well.

Charities should be seen and not heard

Politicians so often have remarkably thin skins to go with their privileged backgrounds and lack of empathy. The new “minister for civil society”, Brooks Newmark looks like another non-entity who we’ll only hear of again if he keeps on coming out with stupid comments about like this.

“The important thing charities should be doing is sticking to their knitting and doing the best they can to promote their agenda, which should be about helping others.”

This sounds like a man whose sole interaction with charity is occasionally tossing a few pounds into a bucket and then telling himself he’s solved whatever problem the collection was for. He doesn’t understand that the money must then be used in the most effective way possible. Medicines have to be bought, research funded, or, no matter how little he wants to hear about the problems his party is causing, politicians have to be lobbied and statements drafted then released to the press. It’s typical that he wouldn’t understand that causing a fuss and getting a bad decision reversed would be more effective, and cheaper in the long run, than shutting up and picking up the broken people it leaves behind.

via Charities should stick to knitting and keep out of politics, says MP | Society | The Guardian.

KidsCan Can Can

A few of my friends work, or have worked, for the charity Kidscan and I’ve been asked to help out at this event. You can do your part too by volunteering to help break a record-

Largest Can Can Dance.
Sunday July 1st 2012 – 12noon EventCity

The current Guinness World Record for the largest Can Can Dance stands at 1503 people. Let’s bring the record to Greater Manchester and raise money for children’s cancer research.

KidsCan are a national charity specifically set up to support research into new and improved treatments for childhood cancers. This year 1 in 500 children will be diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately 1 in 5 will not survive. Through groundbreaking research, KidsCan is striving to reduce that figure but your continued support is vital.

Join us at this fun filled, high kicking spirited event! Sign up today!

Walk Ten for Marie Curie Cancer Care at Tatton Park

Marie Curie Walk Ten publicity photos

Walk Ten for Marie Curie Cancer Care at Tatton Park

Sign up for a summer evening walk for charity, supported by HomeServe

Marie Curie Cancer Care is holding a summer evening walk at Tatton Park on Saturday 13th August and the charity is inviting people from across Cheshire to take part.

The 10k walk at Tatton Park is one of a series of unique ‘Walk Ten’ events being held at 20 spectacular venues across the country, supported by HomeServe, Britain’s dedicated home emergency and repairs experts.

The Tatton Park walk starts at 6pm and at the end of the walk, there will be fun activities throughout the evening, such as fireworks, live music, and picnics, in celebration of the work of Marie Curie Nurses. Registration is £10 per person (children go free) but everyone is encouraged to raise as much as possible to support Marie Curie Cancer Care, whose Nurses provide free care to people with terminal cancer and other illnesses in their own homes and in the charity’s hospices.

Tatton Park boasts some of the most impressive and dazzling gardens in the UK and is the perfect setting for Marie Curie Cancer Care’s Walk Ten celebration. The 10km sunset walk takes people through some beautiful landscapes, where deer roam. The park is usually closed to the public in the evening making this a unique opportunity to experience the stunning landscape at a magical time of the day.]

Jayne Neal, a HomeServe employee who took part in Walk Ten for Marie Curie last year said: “Walk Ten is a brilliant occasion, giving people the chance to walk 10k in stunning surroundings, but also to recognise the dedication of Marie Curie Nurses, who work through the day and night providing care to people with cancer and other terminal illnesses. There’s a real festival atmosphere at the end of every walk where friends and families come together. Then at 10pm, which is the time Marie Curie Nurses start their night shifts across the country, candles are lit and everyone is silent for a few moments to think about the nurses and the people they are caring for. The fun then continues late into the summer evening.”

This year’s 20 Walk Ten venues are: * New venue for 2011
Castle Howard, North Yorkshire*
Beaulieu, Hampshire
Stourhead, Wiltshire
Stormont Estate, County Down
Athelstaneford, East Lothian
Croft Castle, Herefordshire*
Dumfries House, Ayrshire*
Margam Park, Neath Port Talbot*
Clapham Common, London*
Tatton Park, Cheshire
Boughton House, Northamptonshire
Eastbourne, East Sussex*
Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire
Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire*
Herrington Country Park, Sunderland*
Shugborough, Staffordshire
Hill of Tarvit, Fife*
Omagh, County Tyrone*
Coombe Country Park, Warwickshire*
Belladrum, Inverness-shire*

For more information and to find your nearest Walk Ten go to or call 08700 340 040.

Photographs courtesy of

Marie Curie Walk Ten publicity photos

Tuesday 14th was, luckily, one of the few days this month which was sunny all the way through. Which was good, because I cycled out to Tatton Park to take these photos for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Christmas and New Year photos

Carabosse fire display, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

I’ve put photos from Cumbria and Edinburgh up on Flickr.

Good morning Edinburgh

Good morning Edinburgh, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

I’m just grabbing breakfast, then I shall be collecting on Cockburn Street for a few hours.